[Humanist] 23.721 persistent fear

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Mar 25 07:27:15 CET 2010


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 721.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Charles van den Heuvel"                                  (15)
                <charles.vandenheuvel at vks.knaw.nl>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 23.720 persistent fear?

  [2]   From:    Melissa Terras <m.terras at ucl.ac.uk>                       (68)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.720 persistent fear?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:44:24 +0100
        From: "Charles van den Heuvel" <charles.vandenheuvel at vks.knaw.nl>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 23.720 persistent fear?


Dear Willard,

Given your interest in fear of computing I would like to bring a PhD to your attention of a former colleague of mine. John Beckers with the title Computer Anxiety Determinants and Consequences defended at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands on 16 October 2003. There are no further bibliographical details of this publication.

Best wishes,
Charles

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Virtual Knowledge Studio for Humanities and Social Sciences
Dr. Charles van den Heuvel
Cruquiusweg 31
1019 AT Amsterdam
+31-(0)20-8500283 Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
charles.vandenheuvel at vks.knaw.nl
Monday and Tuesday + 31-(0)43-3101455


--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 10:54:27 +0000
        From: Melissa Terras <m.terras at ucl.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.720 persistent fear?
        In-Reply-To: <20100324063212.1FBAA5063B at woodward.joyent.us>


I think it was Isaac Asimov who said
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them...."

Melissa

_______________________________________________
Melissa M. Terras MA MSc DPhil CLTHE
Senior Lecturer in Electronic Communication
Department of Information Studies
Henry Morley Building
University College London
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT

Tel: 020-7679-7206 (direct), 020-7679-7204 (dept), 020-7383-0557 (fax)
Email: m.terras at ucl.ac.uk
Web: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/slais/melissa-terras/

Digital Humanities Quarterly: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/

On 24/03/2010 06:32, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 720.
>           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
>                         www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                  Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>          Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 06:31:29 +0000
>          From: Willard McCarty<willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>          Subject: persistent fear
>
> Yesterday, in a class I teach to PhD students from a variety of
> disciplines, the subject of computer science and its ambitions came up.
> I tried to explain in terms I thought would be fully acceptable to
> people in the humanities and social sciences what could now be done,
> e.g. with literary language, and how what could be done raised very
> interesting questions of the sort that such people ordinarily entertain.
> But I was in for a surprise. Perhaps I should not have been surprised by
> the reactions of a mature student, now retired and pursuing his degree
> for the love of the subject, who thought these advances in computing
> represented a "foot in the door" of a metaphorical creature we would not
> want to share a room with. But clearly the younger sorts were bothered
> as well, and one of them volunteered afterward that he thought the heads
> of department at a recent gathering he attended would not be welcoming
> either.
>
> Now fear of computing is one of my favourite subjects. I study that
> fear, because I think it is very revealing historically of what was
> happening in the early years. But I had assumed that it was now more or
> less a thing of the past, and that our problem now is an
> over-familiarity with computers as appliances. It seems from the one
> experience, however, that although the machine-as-appliance may be
> familiar enough, what is not at all, and so a cause of fear, is what
> machines can do analytically. We all know this is little enough, and we
> complain. But it seems that at least to some lovers of poetry, for
> example, concording the stuff, looking for collocates and patterns
> revealed by statistical tests etc is all part of a rather disturbing
> reductionist programme.
>
> I for one am glad that the fear is still alive, since I think it's
> closer to the mark at which we aim than the refrigerator-view of
> computing. But then I admire people who say, "THE BRAIN IS A COMPUTER
> MADE OF MEAT!!", just to see if they're awake.
>
> Seriously, what's your experience? Do you encounter this fear when you
> talk outside your circles of technically adept colleagues?
>
> Comments?
>
> Yours,
> WM
>    





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